Wishful Drinking is Carrie Fisher’s stage production of her autobiographical book of the same title. World of Wonder Productions produced this film version for HBO combining her her one-woman stage performance, which was taped before a live audience, with archival footage.
An actress, screenwriter and bestselling author, Carrie Fisher is the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, known as “America’s Sweethearts” in the late 1950s. She became a star at age 19 after playing Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” trilogy in the 1970s. Despite growing up with “Hollywood royalty” as parents and experiencing early fame of her own, Fisher’s life had its challenges, as she reveals in this both humorous and sobering account. Combining her wit and raw facts, Wishful Drinking reveals her own slant on the not-so-glittering side of being a celebrity.
From stardom to divorce, re-marriage to the death of a close friend, addiction to mental illness, Carrie Fisher recounts her peaks and valleys with both candor and biting humor, referring to celebrity as just “obscurity biding its time.”
In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher details her complicated yet eclectic extended family tree in Hollywood Inbreeding 101, using a blackboard and wooden pointer. Her father Eddie Fisher’s very public affair with Elizabeth Taylor ended what had been perceived and celebrated as a “storybook marriage,” and she and her brother Todd later watched both her mother’s and father’s “once white-hot bright star of celebrity slowly dim, cool and fade.” In 1973, at her mother’s urging, the 17-year-old Carrie Fisher enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; two years later, her life changed forever when she donned a white dress as Princess Leia in George Lucas‘ “Star Wars.”
Besides making her a star, the movie resulted in Carrie Fisher’s image being merchandised as part of the “Star Wars” franchise for the last thirty years. These items include dolls, shampoo, soap, Mrs. Potato Head and a PEZ dispenser. Carrie Fisher notes that among his many possessions, Lucas owns her likeness, “so every time I look in the mirror, I have to send him a couple of bucks.”
Aside from the strain from her high visibility, Carrie Fisher continued to face more than her share of challenges. With her usual candor, she discusses her bipolar diagnosis and the life-changing decision to have electric shock therapy (ECT).